Help is on the way for tourism-based businesses in Halifax County.
The Halifax Industrial Development Authority is accepting applications from the businesses to help them recoup some of the financial losses they sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors has allocated $200,000 for the grants, from a portion of the county’s coronavirus relief funds through the federal CARES Act.
“It was a great thing to see the county be able to put money into the program,” said Brian Brown, executive director of the Halifax IDA. “There have been some significant losses during the pandemic, and this is a way to give some back to businesses such as the racetrack and the hotels.”
Tourism-based businesses eligible to apply for the grant are defined as “retail, hospitality, entertainment, employment and administrative services, or operating within a travel-related sector,” according to a news release announcing the grant funding.
Grants will be awarded to eligible businesses after being reviewed by a four-person committee, consisting of Brown, Halifax IDA assistant director Tracy Mallard, county administrator Scott Simpson and the county’s director of tourism LaTonya Sadler Hamilton.
The grant funds will be used to provide financial relief to the businesses for COVID-19 related expenses already incurred such as payroll-related expenses, the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies. Other qualifying expenses include “IT and non-IT equipment, IT and non-IT services, professional services, workplace modification, indoor and outdoor furniture and fixtures, training, staffing or other unanticipated expenditures needed to deal with the impact of COVID-19 business interruptions,” according to the news release. Receipts will be required as proof of those expenditures. Grant funding requests will total the value of submitted qualified receipts, with a cap of $75,000.
Brown said he believes the CARES Act grant funding has the potential to keep the doors of some local businesses open, which could have a ripple effect on Halifax County’s overall economy.
“Anytime you can do something to help a business keep its doors open, it’s always something to help your economy grow and help your business climate grow,” the IDA executive director said.
Tourism-based businesses have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many being forced to close temporarily in the spring during the height of the pandemic resulting in substantial financial losses. The hospitality industry is a “driving force in our community” and the county’s tourism revenues have “sharply declined” during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton previously noted in a July announcement of Halifax County Tourism’s receipt of a grant for tourism marketing from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program.
The Halifax IDA is accepting grant applications through Oct. 31.
Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.
For more information, call the Halifax IDA office at 434-572-1734.